Received my bottle the other day, sort of like the OV flask but in red (instead of green) with a bright cap instead of the black one on OV. Open the cap, sort of woody piney smell. Reminds me very much of Baie De Genievre, the juniper classic from Creed. Good to know about the juniper note in OS. First spray - I sense a strong coriander emerge. I am immediately reminded of the strong coriander note coming from Live Jazz. My friends who were very lukewarm on other Creed scents were totally blown away by the opening. There is of course, the juniper which I mentioned, ginger comes in pretty early on. The net result of coriander, juniper and ginger is a punchy fresh smell. I'm not a fan of coriander and can't stand Live Jazz and its coriander, so I'm not pumped about the opening. Not sure but I smell the prickly lavendar at the top. The juniper/ginger make it somewhat bearable in OS (for me). Thankfully for me, the top notes are not very long lasting.
As the mid/base notes emerge the sandalwood slowly comes along. However there is a good bit of orange tree absolute, rosemary and very light lavendar that I smell. The scent turns into a aromatic powdery scent, something you expect from a Lorenzo Villoresi or classic french powder fragrance except it isn't very sweet just the right amount and quite aromatic. OS doesn't get cloying at all, something I detest in LV. Sandalwood, orange tree, rosemary, tonka bean and vanilla nice mid/basenotes. Powder, Sweet, Spice, aromatic - all in nice balance. While I didn't like the opening that much, I find the mid/base notes are very nice. Three cheers - NO CREED HOUSE NOTE -- this should be good enough reason to try this out. It is a good thing there is no amber, otherwise I suspect this would have surely turned into a sweet bomb, the amber accentuating the sweetness. People who have been waiting for Creed to turn out a sweet/orientalish fragrance will like this. The top notes burn off pretty quickly (1/2 hr). I could smell faint basenotes after five/six hours. I would say this is short/medium lasting. Not EdP lasting.
Overall verdict: One of the more direct, easy to understand and wear creed scents. No obvious copy of any existing scent (notes below). Doesn't invent anything major, pretty standard notes. No creed house notes - "sharp, metallic" etc. The good quality comes through, you can sense the development of the various notes. Having just burned my nose through 12 Serge Lutens samples, I have come full circle and can appreciate the existence of direct, well-made fragrances for daily use.
1. This doesn't smell like the older Creed Santal Imperial, though the heart is from SI. SI is a great scent with a beautiful Santal, vanilla, amber softness. Amazing sandalwood powdery sweetness and spice that is gentle. OS does settle into a nice soft aromatic powdery scent, without the creed amber. It is more than just sandalwood, I sense the rosemary, orange tree absolute very much till the end (in OS). I would say SI has been juiced up substantially by giving the zesty coriander/juniper/ginger opening and then putting in some supporting characters to the sandalwood.
2. OS would be in the same category as Allure Homme in a very broad sense. Both are semi-orientals, both come in spray bottles with essential oils suspended in alcohol otherwise not the same.
3. Comparison to the "English Santals": Floris Santal, Trumpers Sandalwood, Susanne Lang Sandalwood are good examples of very spicy and very sweet sandalwoods. True to its house character, OS could be said to be midway between these Santals and classic powdery french perfumes.